NO! Selling Real Estate is Not a Part-Time Job!

By
Education & Training with Sell with Soul

This blog is directed at new agents. Experienced agents, who know their systems, their markets and their contracts, and who have a steady stream of business can certainly succeed working part-time. But in the first year......

No! Selling real estate (well) is NOT a part-time job!

I know this opinion is unpopular. And because I like to be liked, I've kept my mouth shut. As an active participant on several real estate forums, I see this question come up time and again. Responses range from "Oh, yes, you can definitely sell real estate part time" to "Well, you can do it, but you'll have to work real hard." To my great surprise, no one comes right out and says "Are you crazy??"

So, I'll be brave and go first... "Are you crazy?"

Let's talk about the reasons someone might become a PT real estate agent...

Uh...okay, only one reason comes to mind. Money. Not enough of it.

I can't think of any other reason someone would start a new career and only attack it half-assed (or less!)

This is a tough business to get into, especially now. Well, I should rephrase that - it's certainly not tough to get into, but it's very tough to succeed in. Rumor has it that eighty percent of new agents fail within the first year. Eighty percent! So, if you are considering entering a business in which eighty percent don't make it through the first year, the odds are very much against your chances of succeeding. And you think that giving it less than your all is going to improve those odds?

The common song I hear when agents insist on going part-time is a whining "Well, it would be NICE if I could do it full-time, but not EVERYONE has that luxury!"

Fair enough.

Then, maybe, just maybe, this isn't the right time. Just because selling real estate is your dream doesn't mean that you are entitled to succeed if you aren't ready. Some dreams may just have to wait. Patience, grasshopper!

But enough ranting and raving (maybe). Here are some solid reasons part-time is not nearly as cool as full-time:

1. Being part-time screams to your friends, prospects and clients that you aren't successful enough to do it full-time. And who wants to work with an unsuccessful real estate agent?

2. Being part-time requires you to be oh-so-efficient with your time. This sounds like a good thing, but it's not. In the course of learning to be a good real estate agent, you need to be able to risk "wasting" your time. For example, let's say you get a floor call from a marginally qualified buyer. If you're part-time, you might be tempted (or forced) to turn him away. If you're full-time, you're delighted for the opportunity to practice your craft, regardless of the potential for a paycheck. But I guarantee you, whether or not you get paid for running around with this buyer, the learning experience will be worth every "wasted" minute. And who knows, this buyer could end up being your biggest referral source.

But as a part-time agent who doesn't have time to mess around, you'll never know.

3. I don't see how a new part-time agent can truly serve her clients when she doesn't have the time to learn her craft. When I was new, everything I did took me five times as long to do as it should have because I had a huge learning curve to climb over. I worked very hard (full-time) to learn my market, to master my systems, to know my contracts inside and out, to develop my team of service providers and oh, yes, to answer my phone every time my clients called... or to return their calls within five minutes.

4. Your paying clients expect and deserve your full attention. Especially when you're new and, c'mon, admit it, you don't know what you're doing. When you go on your first listing appointment, you SHOULD have spent the previous 48 hours straight preparing your market analysis. Your fear of failure and embarrassment should motivate you to go through the comparable market data with a fine-toothed comb. A part-time agent doesn't have the time or energy for this.

Your buyer needs an agent who is as enthusiastic about his house-hunt as he is. He deserves an agent who previews like a madman to find just the right house the day it hits the market. An agent who is willing and able to hold the buyer's hand through the painful inspection. An agent who can drop everything and spend five hours making phone calls when a last-minute crisis threatens your buyer's closing.

5. The agent on the other side of the deal expects and deserves your attention. She doesn't want to do your job for you just because you're at your "real" job and can't get away. And remember, you're making her look bad to her clients when she can't reach you to get a question answered or a problem resolved. 

6. Selling real estate is a constant learning experience. Even full-time, experienced agents learn something new with every sale or listing. If you're only selling four or five houses a year because you're part-time, you're missing out on a lot of on-the-job training. It doesn't matter how smart, how motivated or how charming you are, you'll never be as qualified as a good full-time agent.

(Note I said "good." There are plenty of bad full-time agents and you may very well be more qualified than some of them).

7. In both of your careers, if something goes wrong, it's going to be blamed on your dual-life. Perhaps with good reason.

Again, I know my opinion is unpopular. I just know how hard I worked in my first five years, and I can't imagine succeeding in (or even enjoying) this career without devoting my heart and soul to it.

So, here's an alternate plan. If you want to sell real estate and you want to succeed... work your backside off for the next year and save some money. Work two or even three jobs that guarantee you a paycheck and put that money away. After all, that's what you're talking about doing anyway, right? Working two jobs? If you think building a real estate business is easier than, say, waiting tables at night, you're mistaken. At least waiting tables guarantees you $3/hour with no out-of-pocket costs!

Then, hit your new career with guns blazing. ALL your energy. ALL your enthusiasm. ALL your attention. You'll be glad you did, I promise.

 

 www.sellwithsoul.com

Subscribe to
Confidence-Builders for the Rookie Real Estate Agent

copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

Posted by

It's Here!

 

The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
Real Estate Best Practices
Tags:
rookies
all blogs

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Ambassador
1,368,734
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Theron: I want to jump in to share my experience with you..... I started part-time too. I quit my corporate job in December last year. I am not making like I used to, but do you know that it's the best decision I have made?

Leads and opportunities will come. The best thing is that we dont need to worry about where they will come from. They will. You have read this, Prepare for Rain. I go back to it as often as I need to. There are so many days (even after I left) I wonder where my next client will come from. They always do.

The reality is that yes, I am not having life as great like I did before but I have changed my lifestyle to support my business. We are more frugal and apparently it seems like that's better for us anyways.

I hope Martina McBride in her song, Do It Anyways can help you ease into this transition.

Good luck, sister!!!! We are here to cheer you on.

Jul 18, 2007 02:13 AM #64
Rainer
4,683
Sandra Patane
Intero Real Estate Services - Los Gatos - Belmont, CA
The Silicon Valley Group

Jennifer,

Your post did come off a bit rough for a site targeted at rookies. I thought this was a site for exchange of useful information. Unfortunately I got caught up...

To classify part-timers in one category was I feel was short sighted. Just know the part-timers who stick with may become top producers, because they have the work ethic and tenacity to work twice as hard.

Jul 18, 2007 02:25 AM #65
Rainmaker
307,523
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead
Theron, you just hit on something golden. This is the part that many agents who aren't able to work the business full time don't understand yet, but as you are able to put more time in, you WILL get more out of it. Once your time and energy is freed to focus only on your RE career, momentum builds. Activity breeds activity and you're able to do far more than twice the business you were able to do working full time. The business WILL come and you will get out of it what you put into it. I have found that all the agents I hear complaining about how slow their business is are the ones sitting back expecting the business to come to them. They spend more time complaining than they do prospecting. Yes, referrals are great and if you take care of your clients, you will get referrals, but you have to always stay busy, even in the slow times. You have to build the momentum through activity. The referrals are just a bonus on top of the new business you generate through your activity. Stay with it... you sound like you have what it takes!
Jul 18, 2007 02:31 AM #66
Rainer
8,512
Theron Your Renal Home/Apartment Locator
Rental Relocation - Sandy Springs, GA
Thank you Loreena and Ryan soo much. Jennifer wrote this blog a while ago, but it resurfaced in the last couple of days.  It is true that everything happens for a reason, because the encouragement I have gotten from the two of you is exactly what I needed. Thank you again.
Jul 18, 2007 03:50 AM #67
Rainer
1,063
Eric Bunn
Dallas, TX

This is great.  I bookmarked it.  I can see how it would be easy to just "practice" real estate but if you want to succeed, you will have to approach it differently.  To have uncommon results you must have uncommon work ethic.  
Sep 06, 2007 05:07 AM #68
Rainmaker
223,010
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Lord love a duck J-Dawg, you sure have ruffled a few feathers. I read some of the comments and I seem to see a trend with those that are written by folks with the letter G at the beginning of their name. Forgive me but I must share. Gregory, I don't know whom you are referring to but welfare ceased to exist long ago. It is important that you understand this regardless of your status as full time or part time.

Grant, you might want to understand plagerism and it's definition before you start actively practicing libel.

Now, to the point. Every agent has been schooled and it is common knowledge that in practicing your profession you are usually dealing with the largest financial investment your client will make. I will not be so presumptious as to say it is on the scale of choosing a surgeon and you would not want a part time surgeon. It is not a life and death transaction. It is a transaction that involves where they will live their life.

I understand all the reasons that people have for attempting to practice real estate part-time. I also believe that if you comprehend the importance of what you are doing, you would not dare to do so on a part time basis.

Yes there are complaints about convenience from other agents. These exist regardless of whether you are full-time or part-time. It is not about convenience (yours or the other agents). This is totally about competence and your ability to shephard the transaction to close, all the while protecting your clients best interest. That is a full time job. It requires "experience through osmosis" (read that as actually being around agents that are doing business). It requires actually learning your craft which will take more than sitting through continuing education classes. It requires time set aside to review what you are doing and analyzing what your next course of action will be.

Remember, your clients are entrusting you with a life decision. You can not in your heart believe that you can competently handle that on a part time basis. You are not a sales person. You are an agent. There is a tremendous difference that seems to be overlooked in this industry.

You are not the only one that has to live with the results. You will continue going home and sleeping in your bed each night. Your clients will have to live with the outcome everyday.

I can not believe that anyone that understands the importance of our profession would ever contemplate, encourage or accept anything other than a full time effort. The focus always seems to be on the agent and it should be on the quality of the representation provided the clients.

Sep 06, 2007 05:52 AM #69
Rainmaker
307,523
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead
OK, I just had to reply to John's response here. Brilliantly stated and at the very core of it is the belief that if you really know and understand what you're doing for your client, you wouldn't dare take a part-time approach. That's the most simple way to put it, yet profoundly stated. It IS that big of a deal for your clients and it should ALWAYS be that big of a deal to you, as their agent!
Sep 10, 2007 05:11 PM #70
Rainer
202,240
Greg Wilson
1st Cornerstone Realty - Schaumburg, IL
I also know part time agents that can run circles around a lot of the full time agents.  Not all part timers are bad agents.  The part timers just have money than the full time agents :)
Sep 11, 2007 01:08 AM #71
Rainmaker
223,010
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes
Ryan - I just read your comment and I wanted to thank you for understanding. As stated, once anyone comprehends the magnitude of their responsibility in this profession, they would not dare attempt to perform it on part-time basis.
Sep 11, 2007 06:35 AM #72
Anonymous
Jennifer Blume
Jennifer - you make many great points.  However, I think there are some instances where starting out part-time is justified.  For example, I am now completing my licensing classes and plan on transitioning from a career I have with a fantastic company with fantastic benefits.  Regardless, I no longer love my job and real estate is something I've always dreamed of doing.  I have a family and am the provider of our benefits and a good salary.  Once I receive my license, I plan on starting out part-time so I can shadow the broker I've chosen and learn the ropes.  I want to make sure that this is truly what I want to do before I give up that salary and benefits for my families' sake.  I don't believe that I can't truly be educated enough to make that huge decision without testing the waters first.  Once I decide to make the leap, I will do it headfirst and give it everything that I have.
Sep 18, 2007 12:00 PM #73
Anonymous
Gina Bowman
WOW!!! I wished I would have seen this blog before I left my comment with Jennifer earlier. LOL!!!! You guys are killing the part timers. GEE!!! I'm in the same situation as Jennifer Blume were I have to start part time. My other career is part time so I feel it depends on the person really. I've been in the mortgage industry for 20 years and know what both sides of the business is like being a loan processor at the time and honestly it depends on ones passion for the business as I've worked with some very lack lustre incompetent agents. They are only in it for the money and do not care for the client at all and they are full time. I think like Jennifer when you start feeling unhappy with doing your 9 to 5 job but still have to do that job your passion for what you really want to do will supersede everything else and if you want it bad enough to be a real estate pro you will work hard at it full or part time. Alot of agents that i know like the flexibility so they can sleep in late and go on vacations. Some will get a big commission and chill on that with no desire to invest ect. To me that isn't a peson who is passionate about the business. I would think the whole goal would be to invest in property and to make sure you are putting away for a raining day and retirement. Yes! you should treat yourself but I feel in moderations especially if you have a family. It can go both ways you hate your 9 to 5 and you are going to work hard to be able to get out of it or it can be a security blanket for some and they will not succeed in real estate. I think it depends on the persons drive, determination and mindset. You have to count the cost first on what you are willing to do and sacrifice for your success I have kids and I want to leave them wealth and they continue the wealth with their kids. My whole purpose is to invest.
Sep 27, 2007 07:47 AM #74
Rainmaker
484,257
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Gina - the funny part is that I read this first (before I got your email) so I wasn't sure what you were talking about! Anyway, I'll respond to your email personally.

I got into real estate with the sole purpose of investing, not to sell. However, one thing led to another and I ended up selling and loving it. You just never know!

Sep 27, 2007 08:12 AM #75
Rainer
24,091
Vanessa Plante-McDonald, MBA, REALTOR® - Cash Rebate to ALL My Buyers!
Bethel Equities, LLC - Laurel, MD

Being a Realtor is NOT rocket science.

I requires no intensive upfront training thus the low bar.

If it was a harder "job" they demographics of the industry will change so unless the bar is raised, may a college degree or a masters to be a Realtor, things will remain status quo.

Then, there'll be a different set of complaints!

Feb 16, 2008 08:03 AM #77
Rainer
11,494
Paula Hartwick
Royal LePage Gale Real Estate - Kanata, ON

Absolutely brilliant post Jennifer.

My husband and I saved for over a year to get to a point where I could quit my full-time pensioned job (that I hated) for my more financially risky dream job as a Real Estate Sales Representative. You're right, there is such a huge learning curve and if you want to build yourself a fantastic reputation and build a solid client base, you have to go at it with your head 100% in the game. Many people asked why I didn't keep my FT job and do real estate part-time until I got established. My response? "Because I'll never get established if I don't do it full-time!"

Feb 23, 2008 06:00 AM #78
Rainer
13,713
Ronda Jones
Ricki Eichler Real Estate, LLC - Mico, TX
Realtor, Mico, TX

You are a courageous gal Jennifer, but that's what I love about ya!

I have an opinion on this:

I asked my broker at my interview what she considers a part time agent - she said "someone who's primary focus is NOT real estate"  I then asked "so if someone was to have another passion or hobby that excited them and allowed them networking opportunites and spirtitual growth, but took 10-15 hours aweek, would that take away from RE so much that it's not longer full time? She said "no, probably not" 

So this leads me to my current situation. I had intended, up until a week ago, to devote ALL my working time to RE. But I never intended to give up my personal passions and hobbies, which include my church attenance and volunteer hours.  I attend on a regular basis and volunteer on several committees there, and often teach SS classes or Vacation Bible School. Being at the Church feeds my soul and as they say in The Secret, it helps me be a joyful person.  It also is a huge networking resource (secondary, of course, to what I again from it in self-improvement and soulful and spiritual growth.) It is my stress reliever, my "grounding" and what makes up a large part of ME.

So by some fluke, the other day the Director of Children's programs offered me a job in the office.  I had no intention of seeking out another job - but after thinking long and hard about it, I took it - I figured why not? I am there several hours a week anyway, and as my kids get older, they are participating more in church events.  This position is only 15 hours a week and is 100% flexible, except Mondays from 11-12 (staff meeting).  I set my own hours and can work a little from home.  It is not a high stress position.  And it pays our montly property taxes!!! :)  It's all website, photoshop and publisher type admin work (great skills to hone for RE.)

Will it interfere with my RE career - maybe a little - but with the flexibility they've offered me and the small amount of hours, I think it will work nicely and provide a little money to pay a bill or two to boot.  

So in summary, Real Estate is still my primary focus, without a doubt. The Church job will be my sanctuary, my place to refocus, my place to be around positive uplifiting people and very possibly, gain clients (but again, that is not my primary goal at church!)  It is also a chance for my kids to socialize and learn about Christianity. It is good for my family.  I mean, I as at church probably 5 hours a week anyway (sometimes more if volunteering for special events) - now I will just get paid to do it!

So am I considered a part-time agent?   I understand COMPLETELY what you are saying in your post - I personally couldn't do it, or at least do it RIGHT, if I had another 9-5 stressful set-hours type job -  but just wanted to clarify that there are lots of different situations that include *another* job, but work nicely with real esate :)

Just another persecpective and situation to consider.

Feb 23, 2008 02:02 PM #79
Rainmaker
484,257
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Paula - Yes yes yes! 

Ronda - I have mixed emotions on this....but I know you'll make the right decision for you.  

The thing is that when you get started, you can never do enough to become a master of your market, systems and contracts. When you have another fairly major obligation, you simply don't have the time or energy to devote to the task of getting up to speed.

I'd almost advise you to WAIT six months and THEN take on the church job... if you don't need the money right now, your time might be better spent really throwing yourself into learning your stuff... until you're more comfortable in your Realtor skin.  

For example, I always preview before going out with a buyer or going on a listing appointment. ALWAYS. It gives me a lot of confidence and of course, makes me just that much better at my job. I have time, and more importantly, the energy to do this because it IS my job.   Your first six months, everything you do will take five times longer than it will later and if you're already strung out from kids, hubby, work, church and maybe even staging, you'll be miserable...   Just my pennies...

Feb 24, 2008 01:46 AM #80
Rainer
13,713
Ronda Jones
Ricki Eichler Real Estate, LLC - Mico, TX
Realtor, Mico, TX

Well, the staging is now officially out (you know the story behind that) but the kids and hubby will still be here LOL. :)

Believe me, I agree with you and Paula (and the others who work RE 24/7) wholeheartedly - except I didn't save for a year so I could quit - I quit a job I was miserable at under much duress and got my last paycheck in December.  This leap off the deep end kind of pushed me into RE  (it had been on my mind for years). Of course the training and getting set up takes a while and I have received a good deal of pressure from hubby. We bought a house a year ago with the understanding that I would work full time to afford it....(gulp)

So me not working is a sore issue between us and is creatiing "strife" at home.  By taking the church position, he is off my back and much more obligatory when I ask him for help with this or that.  So that is worth ALOT :) :)

And, for what it's worth, I believe this job was put in my path for a reason -  I didn't seek it out, it found me :) (was it the answer to the nagging husband dilemma in my life?)

Plus the flexibility is amazing. I only work  Sunday mornings (which I would be there anyway), all day Monday (come in when I want, leave when I want) and a few hours from home.   Sunday afternoons are still free for showings and open houses and I can even take off a Monday if I need to, or leave early and make up that time later in the week if necessary.  Plus they offer free care for my kiddoes (all employees get this for their children) so I can go in anytime I want.  PLUS PLUS they are an amazing group of people to work with - I feel very blessed (as I do with our Reality Show Group and so many others here at AR) to be a part of.   

Like I said in my other post, Church fills that part of my soul that makes me confident and peaceful :)  (when I don't attend Church or am not around them for a stint of time, I can feel the nervous, unfocused, overwhelmed mess creeping back in)

Anyway, I plan to devote the rest of my week (Tues-Sat) to RE (and kids and hubby, like so many others do!) 

And your comments were worth WAAAAAAAAAY more than pennies!!! As always!

Feb 26, 2008 12:25 AM #81
Rainmaker
484,257
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Actually, Ronda, after I posted my response, I read your comment again and decided that it did sound like a good compromise... So, you have my blessing!!!! (yeah, I know you were holding your breath!)
Feb 26, 2008 12:33 AM #82
Rainer
13,713
Ronda Jones
Ricki Eichler Real Estate, LLC - Mico, TX
Realtor, Mico, TX

I was, I was!  Wheeewwwww.... :) :) 

I honestly wish I didn't have to take even this part-time-super-flexible-perfect-for-the-situation-in-a-place-I-enjoy-being job. :) I really WANT Real Estate THAT much - I REALLY want to put every last spare moment I have into it.

BUT......like you said, it was a compromise for my family and I feel lucky that if I *have* to do it (which I sort of do) it's the job that it is :)  I didn't really want to flip burgers at McD's :P LOL

Feb 26, 2008 06:36 AM #83
Rainmaker
210,832
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Oh my gosh!  It is sooooo funny that I would come across this post today - a post that was written over a year ago!  I think that, under certain circumstances, someone can work as a real estate agent part-time but those circumstances have to be just so (like Ronda's case).

As a Virtual Assistant, I've come across many part-time agents who really don't realize just how much work is involved in becoming successful at real estate.  They think that, if they hire a VA, that makes all the difference.  The problem is, we can only handle the marketing and administrative tasks.  We can't show houses.  We can't write contracts.  We can't do the dozens of other things that truly make up the real "real estate agent."

Sometimes, it's like you said.  You just have to jump in there and tread water until you can swim.

~Renae

Feb 26, 2008 07:00 AM #84
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainmaker
484,257

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
Ask me a question
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention